Nov 07

Reflections on 25 years of TABOR in Colorado

Reflections on 25 years of TABOR in Colorado

Friday marked 25 years since the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1992

By Julia RentschReporter-Herald Staff Writer

Posted:   11/06/2017 11:07:03 PM MST

TABOR timeline

• 1992 — Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amends Section 20 Article X of the Colorado Constitution

• 2000 — Amendment 23 for education spending increases

• 2005 — Ballot measure Referendum C loosens some TABOR restrictions for five years

• 2006 — TABOR measures rejected by voters in Maine, Nebraska, Oregon

• 2011 — State Sen. Andy Kerr and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst lead suit against TABOR

• 2014 — Kerr v. Hickenlooper confirms general assembly has standing to challenge the constitutionality of TABOR

• 2015 — U.S. Supreme Court returns Kerr & Hullinghorst case to 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

• 2017 — House Bill 17-1187 to change excess state revenues cap growth factor introduced

Both Sam Mamet and Larry Sarner acutely remember the moment that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Act was amended to the Colorado Constitution. The difference: One man hated the amendment’s restrictions, while the other saw them as democratically vital.

Friday marked exactly 25 years since the election in which the amendment was added to the state constitution — Nov. 3, 1992. The measure took effect Dec. 31, 1992, and serves as a way to limit the growth of government by requiring increases in overall revenue from taxes not exceed the rates of inflation and population growth.

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Oct 04

Colo. Taxpayer Rights Act Suit Appealed To 10th Circuit

Colo. Taxpayer Rights Act Suit Appealed To 10th Circuit

Law360, New York (October 2, 2017, 2:56 PM EDT) — A group of Colorado political subdivisions have returned to the Tenth Circuit to argue that they have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Eight school boards, a county commission and a special district board, in their opening brief on Sept. 27, claimed extensive injury from TABOR, a state constitutional provision requiring popular approval of any tax increase at any level of government.

“TABOR has deprived all of Colorado’s legislative bodies — from the state Legislature to boards of county commissioners…

Oct 02

Taxpayers Have Their Own Bill of Rights in Colorado. But Who Benefits?

Taxpayers Have Their Own Bill of Rights in Colorado. But Who Benefits?

The unique anti-tax tool has defined spending in the state, and it may spread to more states.
BY  OCTOBER 2017

Anti-tax advocate Douglas Bruce led the TABOR effort in 1992. “No one has had the impact on Colorado politics” that he has, according to one academic in the state. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

The blue tag on the streetlight outside Robert Loevy’s Colorado Springs home in 2010 didn’t signal an upcoming utility project. It was a receipt to show he had paid the $100 to keep his light on for the year. The city was facing a decimating $40 million budget gap and, among many other cuts, it was turning off one-third of its streetlights. That is, unless residents could come up with the money themselves. “I could afford to pay it,” Loevy says today, “but I have to think that would have been a stretch for many lower-income people.”

Loevy, a retired Colorado College professor, says the lights-out incident — which earned Colorado Springs international infamy that year — is just one of the many instances in which Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) has only benefited those taxpayers who can afford to pay for services out of their own pocket. Loevy has been a vocal critic of the law. As he sees it, “TABOR has had its worst effects on poor people.”

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May 06

Andy Kerr’s TABOR End-Run Lawsuit Meets Timely Death

KERR-TAILED: Andy Kerr’s TABOR End-Run Lawsuit Meets Timely Death

Yesterday, a district court judge dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by Democratic state Sen. Andy Kerr, who is running to replace fellow Democrat Ed Perlmutter. The ruling was a huge victory for taxpayers and the lawsuit was the height of hubris by Kerr and Company. Here’s what we wrote about the lawsuit last month, when Kerr announced his run for Governor:

“The case has not been resolved and is still working its way through the court system, but the crux of the case is that Andy Kerr, represented by liberal U.S. Rep. Diana Degette’s husband Lino Lipinsky, believes that TABOR, or the taxpayer bill of rights, violates a representative government. Has Kerr been a passionate advocate for representative government in the past? No. In essence, he’s searching for any reason to undermine TABOR. Here’s what the Denver Post‘s then-editorial page editor, Vincent Carroll, wrote in 2013 about the case:

“They wish to be the sole authority in Colorado on ‘all questions [my emphasis] of timing, method, nature, purpose, extent, and priority with respect to the imposition of taxes or the appropriation of funds.’

They say this in a legal brief filed recently in support of a lawsuit urging federal courts to strike down the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights as an unconstitutional infringement on legislative power.”

This is just disgusting. Given his obvious attempt at a power grab, Kerr should be rejected by any voter that does not consider him or herself a radical leftist. Here’s what Senate President Kevin Grantham had to say about the ruling:

“Senate Republicans applaud the district court’s decision to dismiss this case, which clearly was aimed at end-running and undermining, through sly legal maneuvers, the will of voters who wrote TABOR into the State Constitution. If TABOR foes are sure Coloradans no longer support the taxpayer protections and fiscal discipline TABOR provides, they should stop waging these guerilla wars and put a repeal measure on the ballot. They don’t do so because they know Coloradans continue to support the spirit and letter of this law.”

Grantham is right. Leftists don’t have the votes to pass this ill-advised potential ballot initiative, and Coloradans love the idea that TABOR represents. This blatant cash grab should be enough to disqualify Kerr from higher office.

https://coloradopeakpolitics.com/2017/05/05/kerr-tailed-andy-kerrs-tabor-end-run-lawsuit-meets-timely-death/

May 06

Judge Throws Out Challenge To Colorado’s Spending Limits

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a long-running lawsuit challenging Colorado’s strict tax and spending limits as unconstitutional but more appeals are possible.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore ruled Thursday that none of the former or current elected officials, educators or citizens challenging the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill or Rights or TABOR have proved they were harmed by it. As a result, he said they don’t have the right to challenge the voter-approved measure in court.

TABOR also requires tax increases to be approved by voters. Challengers say that violates the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees a republican form of government in each state where elected officials make decisions.

The lawsuit was filed in 2011. Along the way, part of it was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sent the case back to court in Denver.

Judge Throws Out Challenge To Colorado’s Spending Limits

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/05/05/tabor-taxpayers-rights/

 

May 05

Federal judge dismisses Kerr VS. Hickenlooper TABOR lawsuit, bringing possible end to six-year court fight

DENVER – The six-year fight over whether Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) violates state and federal laws came close to a possible end Thursday, when a U.S. District Court of Colorado judge dismissed the latest appeal and ordered the case be closed entirely.

 

The latest court actions from the federal district court came after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s earlier decision that the plaintiffs in the case – which included numerous former and current state legislators, teachers and various city and county jurisdictions and departments – had standing in the case. The 10th Circuit sent the decision back to district court last June.

But the 10th Circuit’s decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court had sent the circuit court’s decision back to it in 2015, following a ruling in a similar case out of Arizona. Continue reading

Feb 26

After 25 years, TABOR still works for you

Douglas Bruce, author of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is pictured in 2005 working on the campaign against Referendum C .

By Penn R. Pfiffner and Douglas Bruce | Guest Commentary

PUBLISHED: February 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights works for you and its 25th anniversary this year is worth celebrating. Once again in 2017 you need to protect TABOR from the political elite attacking it.

TABOR belongs to you. It is how you set a broad control on government that must answer to you and your fellow citizens. It has succeeded in keeping a better balance between costly government programs and healthy family budgets.

Everyone has to live within a budget. That’s just life. Staying in budget brings stability to your family and helps you choose the most important ways to spend your money. The value of living within a budget applies not just to individuals and families, but also to government. That’s just smart — and fair.

To read the rest of this story, click (HERE):

Jan 01

Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Initiative 1 (1992)

The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), also known as Initiative 1, was on the November 3, 1992 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The famed measure, thought up by Douglas Bruce, requires statewide voter approval of tax increases that exceed an index created by combining inflation and population increases.

 

 

 

 

 

Text of measure

See also: Colorado State Constitution, Article X

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to require voter approval for certain state and local government tax revenue increases and debt; to restrict property, income, and other taxes; to limit the rate of increase in state and local government spending; to allow additional initiative and referendum elections; and to provide for the mailing of information to registered voters?

Aftermath

Kerr v. Hickenlooper

See also: Kerr v. Hickenlooper

A lawsuit regarding Initiative 1 will likely have far reaching effects for other TABOR laws around the country and direct democracy, in general. A lawsuit was filed with U.S. District Court in Denver, with plaintiffs arguing that the amendment is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed during the week of May 27, 2011, by 34 bipartisan plaintiffs, according to reports.

According to Doug Bruce, author of the citizen initiative, if the lawsuit is successful in its efforts, it could allow lawmakers unlimited power, and could be extremely detrimental to citizen initiative efforts in the state of Colorado. Bruce stated: “This isn’t only attacking Colorado. The consequences of a ruling in their favor would invalidate the Constitution in all 50 states, and would also mean no limits on the federal government. We would have anarchy.”

However, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, David Skaggs, stated that the measure limits state legislators and conflicts with both the state and United States constitutions. Skaggs also argues that other initiatives have been overturned, but that it did not negatively affect the process. Skaggs commented: “Courts won’t reach beyond the narrow question presented. Yes, we got to this issue by initiative”, but the lawsuit targets TABOR and not citizens’ initiatives.

The case’s impact expanded significantly due to the consideration of a Guarantee Clause argument. In 2012, Colorado District Court Judge William J. Martínez ruled in favor of allowing the case to proceed. However, Martínez’s ruling noted the history of seeing the Guarantee Clause as not justiciable or capable of judicial resolution, and said, “the Court determines that it cannot summarily conclude that Plaintiffs’ Guarantee Clause claim is per se non-justiciable”

The defense appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. In March 2014, the court ruled that the case was justiciable. The court further denied a petition for rehearing en banc in July 2014. Some consider the case likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Taxpayer_Bill_of_Rights,_Initiative_1_(1992)

Oct 13

EDITORIAL: TABOR lawsuit misguided

50354_2201459078_608064_nPUEBLO CITY Schools (D60) Board of Education has joined a lawsuit that would overturn the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Pueblo County District 70 joined the federal case earlier.

Educators have been led to believe that repealing TABOR’s state and local tax and spending restrictions would trickle down into more legislative funding of the public schools. Not so fast. The state’s recent budget history says otherwise.

Since approved by the voters in 1992, TABOR has done what it promised to do, which is to require voter approval before taxes can be raised and to tie revenue increases to Colorado’s overall economic growth unless voters permit.

In fact, state revenues and spending have increased every year under TABOR even under the cap of combined growth in population and inflation.

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